Parsons Paris

Parsons Paris.

Design and the WASSUP Co-operative: A University-Community Collaboration in Johannesburg

6:00 p.m.

This talk will explore an example of spatial agency, engaged design and planning practices in a township on the northern edge of Johannesburg. 

From 2007-09 Global Studio ( worked in Diepsloot, a township with some 60% of its 160,000 inhabitants under or unemployed. The talk will cover the background to this university community collaboration and the role of an interdisciplinary, international program as a catalyst for social and environmental change. Speakers will offer their perspectives on the development of the WASSUP co-operative, which include job creation, community empowerment and improvements to well being and creative life. In conclusion we will offer some ideas about extending the reach and role of urban professionals and working with the community as partners. The WASSUP project is on display at the Cooper Hewitt exhibition, Design with the other 90%: CITIES, Main Gallery, United Nations, October 15- January 9, 2012.

Participants include:


  • Anna Rubbo, associate Professor in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, and convenor of Global Studio, a project founded in 2005 by the University of Sydney, Columbia University and the University of Rome.

  • Luckie Manyisichairs the WASSUP cooperative, and has been a leader within the SANCO (South African National Civic Organisation) sector Diepsloot - an activist civic organisation that takes pride in protecting the rights of the residents of Diepsloot. 

  • Lerato Monama was appointed early 2010 to carry out the physical work of the WASSUP repairs and maintenance.  Since then, she has taken a leading role in the Site Management, leading the works and decisions on site.
  • Jennifer van den Bussche went to South Africa as project manager of Global Studio 2007-2009.  She has facilitated the WASSUP group since its formation in mid-2009, and heads up Sticky Situations, a NFP working in Diepsloot.

Sponsored by Parsons The New School for Design and the Cities and Urbanization concentration in the Milano International Affairs Program.


66 West 12th Street, Room 704

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served